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In the Country of the Blind

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Summary: The world ended in a flare of light and a rustling of leaves ...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Sci-FipythiaFR1311,3871181,4551 Jan 101 Jan 10Yes
Timeframe: Post ‘Chosen’

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of them – Buffy and the gang belong to Joss, and the world setting was created by John Wyndham (the writer, that is, not one of Wesley's relatives. Although you never know!)

Notes: Somewhat inspired by the recent BBC adaptation of the book, which got me thinking ...

Somewhere in Scotland - some time after the end of the world

You know what the weirdest thing about the apocalypse was?

None of us saw it coming.

Ironic much? Especially given the nature of the event that changed the world – but we really weren’t expecting it. We were too busy looking for signs of demonic activity, too occupied with hellmouths and portals and adverse publicity. Too busy struggling with human arrogance and envy to understand what the portents were pointing at. We were watching the world, not the skies – at least, we were until that night.

After which very few of us were able to watch anything ever again.

I was actually down in the castle dungeons when it happened. I’d decided to skip the whole event, despite my reputation for partying down. It wouldn’t have mattered how many meteorites were going to fall; I knew that the display would never be able to compete with the one that had lit up the whole of Sunnydale the night Glory had tried to go home. I felt I’d seen enough chaos in the sky to last me a lifetime.

So – oddly enough – that skanky Hellgoddess ended up being responsible for saving the one good eye I had left. Not that I was thanking her for it in the days that followed.

It was a hard time for all of us. Turned out that blind slayers had a lot of advantages over the others that were afflicted that night – but they were still blind. All those sightless souls all depending on me to guide them. To tell them what they could eat, what they had to do, where they needed to go, what they had to fight.

It was people, mostly. In those early days, at least. Crowds fleeing from the cities, thinking that a comfy castle, out in the wilds, might be safer place for them to be. For many of them it was – but the ones that came with guns and grandiose ideas had to be disabused of their tyrannical notions. In the country of the blind, they say, the one-eyed man is king. I hadn’t put myself up for election, but that didn’t seem to matter – my slayers trusted me, our witches entrusted me, and the rest just seemed to go along with the idea.

After a couple of would be revolutions were settled – the hard way – my word became law. I sent out foraging parties – one sighted supporting ten blind, half of which were always slayers – and they came back with food, livestock, fuel, ammunition, and tales of terror. Back in the civilised world, the vamps had come out to play - rounding up helpless souls and keeping them like cattle, feeding and slaughtering with merry abandon as they hunted blind and helpless prey. Other demons had emerged to take advantage of the chaos – and, worse of all, during the mass panics, during the petty power games and the inevitable exodus out of the cities, the triffids had escaped from their farms.

Something else we hadn’t seen coming.

Yeah … well, Willow had ranted about the whole genetic engineering thing – and I guess if we’d looked hard enough we might have found the would be Maggie Walsh that had added demonic DNA into her/his less than pleasant experiments with Pitcher plants and Venus fly-traps – but, like I said, we were too busy watching other things. And the covens hadn’t been too worried about plants that were saving the world from global warming, so they hadn’t been looking too closely either.

There aren’t that many of them that can look anywhere but in, these days …

Our first priority was survival. Our second was doing it with purpose, which started with returning the castle to a truly defensive state, and moved on to making it comfortable and life there sustainable for the siege to come. Because it is a siege. Make no mistake about that. Triffids dig in, and they dig in deep, lurking to catch the weary and the unwary. We lost too many in the early days, but we fought and we learnt and we came to know our enemy well – just as Giles had taught us, all those years ago in SunnyD.

He wasn’t with us when it all started – it took him and Faith a good eight months to fight their way back from Eastern Germany, gathering every Slayer they could find on the way. Buffy and Dawn didn’t catch up with them until they reached the French coast, so while I was busy lording it over a colony of sightless slayers, he was busy good lording it all the way down triffid infested autobahns with a sword in one hand, a chainsaw in the other, a gaggle of hangers-on hanging on - and a growing number of blind body guards in tow. Turns out he’d been unconscious when the meteor shower hit – knocked for six by the Ch’aglick demon that Faith had been busy skewering – and had woken to deal with a panicked, sightless Slayer and a world gone crazy overnight. He’d found out about triffids the hard way somewhere on the road past Cologne, only surviving the encounter thanks to the benefit of his glasses and a frantic Faith who’d practically ripped the plant apart with her bare hands. She saved his life, but he still lost an eye in the deal. He and I make the perfect pair these days – two one eyed Watchers in the kingdom of the blind.

It’s a kingdom that’s defended by battle hardened Slayers equipped with swords and machetes … and a few good scythes.

Buffy still has big red, and uses it with enthusiasm. Kennedy, Vi and Rona picked up the farming variety from an agricultural museum down in the valley, and all four of them stride around like the grim reaper, ready to strike down any triffid that comes our way. Once Willow had worked out how to cast her spells without being able to see what she was doing, she helped transport the survivors of the Devon coven to safety of the castle, and she and Dawn have been helping them work on a solution to the triffid problem ever since. Dawn’s our third Watcher- one with two good eyes, since it turned out that being the Key to dimensions makes you immune to cosmic energy overloads – and she’s also radio girl, keeping us in contact with a bunch of other survivors, who’ve made themselves at home down on the Isle of Wight.

Life goes on, of course. We may not have stopped the apocalypse, but we have survived it. I’m getting used to living medieval style, and carrying a lit candle around at night. The majority of us don’t need light, so we save the generator for the important things, like the electric anti-triffid fence and the equipment in the hospital wing. Buffy’s down there now, saying supportive things to her fellow first line Slayer – and holding her hand, because it really wouldn’t be safe for Giles to do it, no matter how much he might want to. Not a lot of people saw that one coming either, but it didn’t really surprise me. All that time working together, and the G-man was either going to end up loving her or killing her – and Faith’s going to be a wonderful mother, whatever she says. She’ll need to be, since the rest of us will be busy spoiling their kid rotten, every chance we get.

So – Dawn is down in the radio shack, Giles is doing the required pacing of a father to be, and there’s me, up here on watch, one eye on the dark, as always. There’s no moon. The sky is sweet with stars – and out there, the triffids are clicking away, sharing their nightly conversation. No chance of vamps or demons creeping up on us – the plants eat dead and demon flesh with as much relish as they do human - but I still feel the need to be vigilant.

We weren’t ready for the apocalypse because we didn’t see it coming – but I’ll be damned if I let something like that happen again. I’m meant to be the one who sees, right?

And someone has to keep an eye on things around here …

The End

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